One day, I realized I could work from anywhere. So why not work from everywhere?
By selling pretty much 80% of what I own and creatively storing the rest, I will set out on my audacious plan to travel the world for 5 years. This is where I will share it all with you.
I will avoid the heavy-lifting of paperwork by trying to limit my stays to 89 days or less, depending what statutes for any given country are. But I will also seldom stay less than 2 weeks, or really a month, because a) it’s more cost-effective to stay longer, but b) I have this thing about seeking the vibe of where I travel. A mix of sociology, history, culture really turn me on about places. I want to explore that.
I will try to prove I can live the good life for around $1,500 a month, tops $2,000, in Canadian bucks.
It’s not just about living the good life on a good budget, though. It’s about exploring places. Really exploring what geography is for us. What place gives to us. What location influences and inspires in how we are, and who we are.
Like the title says, this journey will be about Terroir and finding my life with a sense of place. I will learn about foods, wines, regional values, local ethos, national attitudes, and so much more. I will compare and contrast how place affects the way we live, how we eat, and what we become.
“Terroir” is, according to Wikipedia, “the set of characteristics that the geography, geology, and climate of a certain place, interacting with plant genetics” and how it influences the end product with wine, coffee, tobacco, chocolate, Scotch, and, well, anything, really.
This blog will be the story of my journey in search of various terroir and its people along the way; where those roads lead me, who I meet, and what I find myself doing. It will contain photos, videos, stand-alone podcasts, and of course a whole lot of writing.
I’ll have some of available for all readers, but because I’d like to focus on travels more than “work,” there’ll be premium content areas for subscribers too. Both areas will have quality content, I promise, but backstage in the members’ area, you’ll find even more, like in-depth info on budgets and itineraries — how much it costs me to do what I do and what it includes. There’ll be lots more photos, long-form research and history, even recipes I learn from old grandmothers and savvy young chefs who dare to let me in their kitchens — because, believe me, I’ll be asking.
I’ll try to find real connections, like learning to forage for food with locals. I already have promising connections for truffle-hunting, wine harvest, and olive oil plantation visits in Croatia’s harvest season 2015. When not on farms or beaches, I’ll explore street markets, pester locals about traditional ingredients, push to find people who can turn me onto behind-the-scenes foodmakers. I’ll fluster though conversations with any and all people I meet, ‘cos that’s how I roll.
And Now, More Fails Than Ever Before!
All this, with none of the languages. I may start learning languages beforehand but I learn better in person. But I taught ESL for a few years, so I’m awesome at hand gestures and charades. Fun, right? Who doesn’t love mixed communications?
With my irreverence and twinkling eyes, I somehow usually connect with strangers. I’m looking forward to learning if my bumbling bravado is appealing overseas. God knows I’ll tell you about the big bowls of failure too. Screwing up keeps me honest and I do so love a good story.
I will have misadventures, inadvertent triumphs, well-schemed home-runs, and all kinds of stories to tell. This, these five years, they’re probably any serious writer’s bucketlist adventure. I know it will be hard, but it’s also gonna be fun, isolating, challenging, intimidating, rewarding, exciting, mind-blowing, and whew, who knows what else.
This blog will let me keep a little part of the world as my home. I won’t have many belongings, I’ll have no place that’s mine. But I’ll have this, and I think I’ll find much comfort in your comments, enthusiasm, sharing, and cheering me on.
If you want mountain-climbing, zip-lining, and all that sportsing stuff, man, this ain’t gonna be your blog. But if you like to hear about random stories with old folks on street corners, weird invitations to cook with grannies, accidental friendships, food-geeking at a market, or just full-on adoration for an out-of-this-world sunset, pondering life on a beach, or hearing about a stroll in a park, then I got your back. If history-nerding is your bag, you’ll get that here. Photography too.
I’ll leave the Everest-Base-Camping and shark-diving for my cooler-than-me friends. I volunteer for wine-tasting. I’ll bravely do that for you. Oh, I have to eat cheeses too? When will the suffering end?
I don’t need mountains to climb. I’ll have adventures, but they’ll be foodie adventures. Like when I stealthily stalk the goats of Croatia’s Pag Island as they eat salt-crusted wild herbs, and then track them till they reach their farmer, where I’ll demand he milk one and make cheese for me RIGHT THERE. Okay, no, but I want to eat that cheese. I will FIND that cheese. I WILL EAT. THAT. CHEESE. With wine. And a smug-ass smile on my face. As sunlight dapples the waves of the Adriatic and a choir of angels sings the “Hallelujah” chorus.
These are the contents of my bucket-list. This cheese from that herb-eating goat on that island. Wine, from that vineyard. Witnessing a salt harvest. Visiting a cork forest. Cycling [insert nation here]’s countryside. Sitting on the steps of Zadar’s sea organ. Hearing dog bark as it sniffs out the rare white truffle under a giant oak in an Istrian forest. Learning to forage for greens. Cooking with grannies. Barbecuing with men. Fishing with pros. Crawling the old towns. Visiting churches.
Home Is Where My Bags Will Be
I won’t be “backpacking.” I’ll have a suitcase. I don’t foresee a lot of hostels. I will work 20-25 hours a week for my day job and it requires a quiet room with a desk, so the minimum I will do is “private room.” I do like the idea of some of those multi-room informal-hotel AirBNB listings. I’ve found one with incredible reviews in a 200-year-old completely-updated building where my room would have THREE 6-foot-by-12-foot windows and TWO balconies, for $26/night… in Andalusia, Spain. Not too shabby. I can handle me some Spain.
I will also stay in private homes with families or single folk, to get crash courses in the culture. Sometimes I will rent whole apartments for a little space and restoration.
I have seven months to prepare now. I need vaccinations, downpayments, travel gear, a new computer. I need to sell most of what I own. Somehow, I know it’ll all work out okay. I’ll do a crowdfunding thingie where you can sign up for membership here, get my photography, have me send you postcards, Skype with me, even more.
Once abroad, I’ll seek a good travel bike. One of those folding doohickeys, and once I find it, my travels will be richer as a result. So will my photography. I’ll be able to live in the Breton countryside and cycle into town every day for baguette, or something.
For now, I plan to experience autumn and early winter in Croatia, then I’ll be off to Andalusia, Spain. Or maybe Sicily, then Spain. After that, who knows. Morocco? Portugal? France? Prague? They’re all on the list. So’s Ireland, Scotland, and Scandinavia. And a few more continents.
Where oh where could it lead? My guess: Everywhere. Thank goodness I’ll get to blog it.
I hope to count on your support. I’ll have captivating content for all my readers, subscribers and otherwise, but money goes a long way to taking this from a “great adventure while working” to a “dream-directed life”. I’d like the latter.
Either way, here’s when it really begins.